US Open Review – Nadal Seals the Deal
We arrive at the conclusion of this year’s US Open in Flushing Meadows and tennis fans have had plenty to talk about at one of the sport’s most famous and best-loved Grand Slams. Play began in earnest on August 26 and came to a close on Sunday with the final of the US Open men’s tournament in New York.
The early outright betting in the US Open men’s competition had Rafael Nadal as red-hot favourite and the Spaniard was expected to go all the way and claim another Grand Slam trophy from the start. The money men thought it was as good as nailed on and there was no better than the 1/3 available at bet635 on him living up to expectations. That’s tight but if you were going to take the jolly and back Rafael Nadal – one of the most consistent players the sport has ever seen – you should’ve put your money at bet365 as there was plenty of 1/4 available on the same bet.
Other players included in the line-up at the semi-final stage on Friday night were Daniil Medvedev, who was second favourite at 11/2, best price when getting your cash down at Betfair. He was ranked a more likely winner than Grigor Dimitrov at 9/1 with 888Sport and Matteo Berrettini who came in as the 20/1 rank outsider at William Hill. The latter winning would have been a massive shock but there were one or two value hunters sniffing around that quote as most firms traded the same player at 16/1.
Williams met Andreescu in Saturday’s Final
Moving over to the women’s US Open betting and we had another nailed-on favourite in Serena Williams who was chalked up at no better than 1/3 at Betfair. The American has experience in winning this title during what has already been an illustrious career and the pre-match odds suggested to us she was preparing to repeat the feat and prove there’s still plenty of fight in this warrior and she has the hunger to keep battling away for major wins.
Serena Williams had Bianca Andreescu as the main danger and her fellow finalist was available at 5/2 on Saturday morning, another price that didn’t go unnoticed by those with a keen eye for the markets. The underdog certainly had plenty of friends. The two women mentioned contested the final on Saturday and there was plenty more for punters to smile about in the match betting. The set betting list was headed up by 2-0 Williams which was top price 10/11 at Unibet, ahead of 2-1 Williams 16/5 with Ladbrokes, 2-0 Andreescu 6/1 Betfair and, lastly, the 6/1 offered by bet365 about 2-1 Andreescu.
The doubles matches also come at us thick and fast over the course of the weekend and that’s where the British interest dropped in with Murray battling for success, The Scotsman and his partner Sands faced-off against Chan and Venus on Saturday afternoon from 4.00pm. Murray and Sands were 4/6 with Betfair to come out on top in that battle and that made them favourite ahead of the 6/5 at William Hill for Chan and Venus.
Federer Dumped out by Dimitrov
The major talking point surrounding the men’s US Open this autumn was the elimination of one of the early betting favourites in Roger Federer. The Swiss star has won the US Open five times during his career, landing glory between 2004 and 2008. He has been unable to build on that since and didn’t go close to doing so this year when dumped out of the running much earlier than expected. That left backers who had their cash down on a great comeback out of pocket and feeling frustrated.
The 38-year-old was knocked out by Grigor Dimitrov on Wednesday 4 September at Flushing Meadows and although he’s a player known for keeping a lid on his emotions, he did look distraught when walking back to the changing rooms, known he had blown what will probably be his last chance at winning the US Open title again. It’s likely he’ll be back for more next year, but Federer is fast approaching the end of his career and his best tennis is now very much behind him, certainly on this surface which has never been his favourite. We certainly wouldn’t be in a rush to back Fed to blast back next year.
The Swiss sporting legend and battling Bulgarian fought out a five-set thriller than went right down to the wire and produced some late drama. Both men looked exhausted in the closing stages of that match but both stuck to the task, giving little away when it mattered. It was a match that kept viewers glued to their seats.
It was the unseeded player who kept his nerve, winning 3-6, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2, leaving the bulk of those watching live at Flushing Meadows in disbelief, but appreciative of the masterclass they had just witnessed from both contenders. It was always going to be the case that the winner of that one would struggle in the next round following a gruelling contest and that’s exactly what happened, Dimitrov left battered and bruised. Punters wanted to know if he would find the second wind needed to rally back and go all the way to the final? He played Medvedev on Friday night in the semis and that match was scheduled to start at 9.00pm UK time before Berrettini and Nadal clashed in the other remaining semi that started at 23:00.
Dimitrov was delighted to have won the match when speaking to the waiting press at the end of the contest but he was respectful to his opponent and admitted Federer was not at his best. He did take pride and satisfaction in the fact he took all the chances that came his way, however, needing them to get past Roger Federer, even an out of form version.
The beaten man also spoke to the worldwide press at the end of the match and it was clear to see he was bitterly disappointed to have been knocked out of a match he had worked so hard to win. Federer certainly had enough opportunities to claim the victory but lacked the sharpness and killer instinct to finish off his man and get across the line.
Federer told reporters he was feeling low when walking off the court and was disappointed the game ended when it did because he believed he was playing well at the finish and was capable of snatching the result. Fed added it was a missed opportunity as he knows he would’ve enjoyed two days off after that match and the promise of that kept him going when in the trenches. Would two days have been enough for a 38-year-old who had just gone through the wringer? We’ll never know but it’s admirable to see Roger just doesn’t know when to quit.
Nadal Comes Through a Tough Quarter-Final
In another quarterfinal match of note we saw Rafael Nadal come through unscathed against Diego Schwartzman to bag a place in the semi-finals on Friday. The Spaniard is closing in on great rival Roger Federer’s tally of 20 Grand Slam titles and he looked in great shape to achieve that feat when the second seed beat his opponent from Argentina 6-4, 7-5, 6-2, the beaten man being the competition’s 20th seed.
Nadal got the result, but he was made to work for it at times by a determined player who, against most other opponents, would have had every chance of going through. This year’s US Open has been the year of the underdog and emerging players during the early stages but the bookmakers believe it would be old favourites Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams who finished on the top step at the conclusion of this weekend. One thing’s for sure, the sport of tennis is going to be an exciting game when the leading two or three retire on each side of the fence, including Williams, Federer and Nadal. It’s also unlikely we’ll see too much more of Andy Murray due to injury.
Sunday’s final saw Rafael Nadal live up to expectations and beat Medvedev in a five-set thriller. The final scores read Nadal 3-2 Medvedev, the victor scraping through by the skin of his teeth. It wasn’t the way he expected to take the title and he would’ve preferred to have enjoyed a bit more of a cushion, but the hard work made the victory all the sweeter.
Serena Undone by Teenage Sensation
Serena Williams’ story of success is equally impressive, and the queen of ladies’ tennis told reporters she could not have imagined when winning her first US Open back in 1999 that she’d still be battling for the prize 20 years on. It’s incredible and we don’t think the great sportswomen will get the credit she deserves for her career until she retires. Yes, she’s regarded as one of the best to have ever played the game but Williams also has a share of critics and they should take the time to sit back and appreciate just what this player has done, not just in tennis but for women’s sport across the board.
Speaking to the press, Serena said she had been in more finals than any other player on the tour after being pregnant and it’s something she never thought she’d be doing at this stage of her career. Williams always expected she would retire before she was 30, probably around 28 or 29, and enjoy her life. That’s not the case but she feels blessed to be still cutting it at the top division and is likely to do so until her body can be pushed no more.
Unfortunately, she was beaten by Andreescu on Saturday evening, and in convincing fashion too, failing to win a set. The underdog roared to victory, winning 2-0 thanks to scores of 6-3 and 7-5. That cost a few favourite backers their money and it was a result that seemed to knock the stuffing out of Serena Williams, but we’re confident she’ll be back for more.
It’s hoped the American will take the loss on the chin and get back to business, following a brief break to recharge her batteries. She’s sure to give serious thought to retirement over the course of the next few weeks, but she’s a fighter and seems a woman determined to keep pushing the limits. Having said that, she was well beaten on the day by a player who looks destined for the very top.